MLB-Major League Baseball roundup

Reuters

March 25 (The Sports Xchange) - Right-hander Yu Darvish will be the Opening Day starter for the Texas Rangers, manager Jeff Banister announced on Saturday.

Darvish, 30, will face the Cleveland Indians on April 3 in Arlington, Texas, becoming the ninth different Opening Day starter for the Rangers in the past nine years.

Darvish was named the Opening Day starter in 2014 but was sidelined by neck stiffness and started the season on the disabled list.

"We feel he is in a great place," Banister said from spring training in Surprise, Arizona. "We have one of the best pitchers in all of baseball opening the season for us. You look at him and see a mentally focused and driven human being to who wants to be the best pitcher on the planet."

Darvish is heading into his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery on March 17, 2015. He was 7-5 with a 3.41 ERA in 17 starts last season.

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The Rangers reached an agreement with second baseman Rougned Odor on a six-year, $49.5 million extension, according to multiple media reports.

The deal also includes an option for a seventh year.

Odor, 23, was not eligible for arbitration this offseason. He already agreed to a $563,180 contract for 2017.

Odor, who played for Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic, hit .271 with 33 home runs, 88 RBIs, 89 runs and 14 stolen bases in 150 games last season.

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Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost named left-hander Danny Duffy to be his Opening Day starter.

Duffy, 28, will make his first Opening Day start when the Royals travel to Minnesota to face Twins on April 3.

Yost also announced Saturday that the full rotation would be Duffy, right-hander Ian Kennedy, righty Jason Hammel, left-hander Jason Vargas and right-hander Nathan Karns.

Duffy just returned from the World Baseball Classic on Friday with a gold medal for Team USA. He became the ace of the Royals staff in 2016 after starting the season in the bullpen. He was 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 42 appearances (26 starts).

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Starting pitcher David Price of the Boston Red Sox reported improved strength in his ailing left arm.

Price, who has not thrown off a mound since experiencing pain and swelling after a simulated game on Feb. 28, played catch on Saturday.

"It felt good, it felt normal," Price told reporters in Fort Myers, Florida.

Boston manager John Farrell noted that the strength level in Price's arm matched the level at which he arrived at training camp.

The 31-year-old Price will begin the season on the disabled list.

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Even though Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Colby Rasmus has been playing in spring training games as a designated hitter, he expects to begin the season on the disabled list.

Rasmus told the Tampa Bay Times that he still cannot run well enough to play in the field because he has considerable discomfort as a result of the hip and core muscle repair surgery he underwent.

"It's probably looking like I'm going to start on the DL," Rasmus told the newspaper. "It's not nothing major but I don't feel that I'm ready to run something down in the gap for nine innings. I've been doing a lot of outfield work and it feels pretty good, but I don't think I'm quite to that point yet." (Editing by Gene Cherry)

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